NEW VISA-FREE COUNTRIES FOR SA

The Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, recently announced that New Zealand along with 6 other countries is now visa-free. South Africa has scrapped visa requirements for various countries and Home Affairs is set to increase the number of staff working for the department to process visas in both China and India. The 7 countries are:

  • Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates
  • New Zealand
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Cuba
  • Ghana
  • Sao Tome and Principe

KWAZULU-NATAL: FIRE & ICE OPENS IN DURBAN
Previously a Protea Hotel by Marriott, the new Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Durban uMhlanga Ridge recently opened following a complete transformation, making it the first Fire & Ice! by Marriott hotel in KwaZulu-Natal. The hotel is situated in Umhlanga with easy access to King Shaka International Airport. The new reception features a dedicated guest relations desk and the outdoor deck features a retractable awning, areas for relaxing and dining, and a swimming pool. The 205 renovated guest rooms offer complimentary Wi-Fi and guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast at the Breakfast Room on the first floor, with indoor and outdoor seating. The restaurant serves global cuisine prepared in an open kitchen with a new menu that boasts a strong African focus.

KWAZULU-NATAL: MAKAKATANA BAY LODGE JOINS AFRICA IN FOCUS
Africa In Focus has announced that Makakatana Bay Lodge will be joining their portfolio as of 1 August 2019. The lodge is situated on the western shores of Lake St Lucia, within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and boasts 8 luxury, spacious suites, set on raised decks with forest and lakeshore views. The suites are equipped with inside and outside showers and outside baths.

KWAZULU-NATAL: SAFARI LODGE RE-STRUCTURING
Safari Lodge will be closed for refurbishing from 31 August 2019 and is set to re-open in January 2020 as a self-catering, ‘glamping’ offering, and will offer 12 brand new 2-bedroom luxury tents. The new White Elephant Safari Lodge will be a joint venture with AfriCamps, and the team will continue to manage and maintain the camp for the accommodation of guests. AfriCamps will handle the administration of reservations, payments and marketing. White Elephant Bush Camp, UmKhaya Cottage and the new White Elephant Research Camp will continue unchanged. Africa In Focus will be concluding its representation agreement with White Elephant Safari Lodge and Bush Camp on 30 September 2019.

LIMPOPO: FIRE DAMAGE AT LAKESIDE LODGE
Lakeside Lodge at the Entabeni Safari Conservancy recently experienced some fire damage and 4 rooms have been affected. 2 rooms burnt down and 2 adjacent rooms had some water damage as a result of the extinguishing process. The rest of Lakeside Lodge is still intact and fully operational. At the time of the fire, no guests were staying in the specific rooms. The damaged rooms have since been blocked off and will not affect the guest experience, and the rest of the rooms at Lakeside Lodge are still available for bookings. Plans to rebuild these rooms have been set out and are estimated to be operational by the end of the year. The rebuild will coincide with the current renovation project including upgrading certain lodges at Entabeni.

WESTERN CAPE: EXTRA FERRY FOR ROBBEN ISLAND
The Robben Island Museum has announced that a new ferry named Krotoa, arrived on Friday 12 July and will help increase passenger capacity for the peak season of December to February. Named after the first recorded female political prisoner on Robben Island, Krotoa boasts a passenger capacity of 285, and the maiden journey is expected to take place once the full marine processes have been finalised and cleared by the governing marine authority, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

WESTERN CAPE: SWING BRIDGE GETS UPGRADED
The upgraded swing bridge at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town has replaced the previous pedestrian walkway that connected the Pierhead and the Clock Tower Precincts. The new bridge remains 42m long but has doubled in width to 4m, with a raised central beam to encourage a separation in the direction of foot traffic. The bridge can be swung to allow ships free passage.

BOTSWANA: SELINDA CAMP OPENS
Great Plains Conservation has opened the Selinda Camp in northern Botswana. The camp’s 3 1-bedroom tented units feature canvas ceilings and thatched roofs and each unit has a shaded open-sided lounge overlooking a private plunge pool. The 2-bedroom Selinda Suite comes with dedicated staff, a wildlife guide and a private vehicle. Guests can enjoy a variety of treatments at the new spa, an interactive show kitchen, and the complimentary use of Canon professional camera equipment and Leica binoculars. Arrival at the camp is by game drive followed by a boat trip into the camp. Activities at the camp include day and night game drives, walking, boating and catch-and-release fishing.

ZIMBABWE: NATIONAL PARKS FEES UPDATE
The concessions operating within Zimbabwe National Parks (ZimParks) have recently been informed that as of 1 July 2019, ZimParks has changed the way that conservation fees are levied. Guests that are booked into any private concession will be charged the international day visitor’s tariff per day for the duration of their stay. Instead of the overnight local, SADC or international charges previously advertised, a flat rate of $15 per person per night will be levied.

ZIMBABWE: NEW LODGE TO OPEN IN HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
Nantwich Lodge is set to open this month in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. The lodge features 9 suites, sleeping 2 guests each, 1 of which is a honeymoon suite. The main area and chalets overlook a large dam, and the camp will also feature an infinity pool and a bar in an area separate from the main area. The main area has a lounge and open-plan kitchen for an interactive culinary experience. Activities include wildlife viewing on game drives and guided bush walks.

Click on the links for more information

Eastern Cape
Bathurst Country Affair from 9 to 11 August 2019
Hogsback Spring Festival from 12 to 13 October 2019

Gauteng
Soweto Festival from 6 to 8 September 2019
SCOPEX on 14 September 2019

KwaZulu-Natal
Experience the Sardine Run from 19 to 30 July 2019
Hilton Arts Festival from 13 to 15 September 2019
Amashova Durban Classic on 20 October 2019

Limpopo
Magoebaskloof Spring Festival from 21 to 24 September 2019

Western Cape
Hermanus Times Kalfiefees from 8 to 11 August 2019
Robertson Slow from 9 to 11 August 2019
Capegate Craft Beer Festival on 30 August 2019
Cape Town Marathon on 15 September 2019
Hermanus Whale Festival from 27 to 29 September 2019


PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

Please note that our offices will be closed on the following Public Holidays:

Friday, 9 August 2019 – National Women’s Day
Tuesday, 24 September 2019 – Heritage Day
Monday, 16 December 2019 – Day of Reconciliation